Gary Lachman's History of Consciousness

Discussion of consciousness: what it is, what it isn't, Jaynes's ideas vs. other theorists, consciousness and language, studies of cognition in non-human species, etc.
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jpritikin
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Gary Lachman's History of Consciousness

Post by jpritikin »

In 2003, Gary Lachman published "A Secret History of Consciousness." He discusses Jaynes (1977) in Chapter 13, but what I really like about the book is Lachman's survey of authors prior to Jaynes. My impression from reading The Origin of Consciousness (1977) is that Jaynes came up with his whole theory without much reference to prior work. Maybe that is what actually happened, but Lachman seems to find precedents for many aspects of The Origin of Consciousness (1977). I haven't read Lachman's book yet in detail. Once I read it, I'll post further thoughts.
jpritikin
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Re: Gary Lachman's History of Consciousness

Post by jpritikin »

I finished reading it. The book has some minor complaints with Jaynes (1977), but is generally respectful and treats Jaynes as a puzzle piece completing part of the puzzle. I just want to reiterate my initial impressions that Lachman considers a much wider sweep of history from pre-historical times up to speculating about the future evolution of consciousness while Jaynes is mainly focused on the important but narrow time span at the beginning of recorded history (2000-1000 BC). In my opinion, Lachman is certainly worth reading for a broader perspective. Some may complain that Jaynes' theory is too large, but Lachman's is even larger.
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Re: Gary Lachman's History of Consciousness

Post by Moderator »

Thank you for the book recommendation.

I'd come across this book before, but my initial impression was it was more a review of a variety of other scholar's theories, that the author's scholarship was perhaps somewhat lacking, and that the author subscribes to a variety of more "mystical" views of consciousness (hence, his criticism of Jaynes). But I should read it nonetheless... thank you for the reminder.
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